December 16 - "S.I.P."

Most of us are familiar with the three letters, “R.I.P.”, standing for “Rest in Peace”…generally used on an individual’s final resting place. There is also another three-letter acronym, “S.I.P.”, that includes little rest and generally no peace.

“S.I.P.” is what I have promised myself to remember whenever a craving for my addictive habits or substances hits…it stands for the “Seduction of Immediate Pleasure,” something I gave into, far too many times in my life.

“Am I going to be seduced, one more time?” I will ask myself.

“Or am I going to remember my non-negotiable plan of action?”

“Will I take a step away from my goal or will I edge a bit closer to it?”

“Do I want immediate but very fleeting pleasure, or do I want longlasting and genuine pleasure?”

Someone told me once that I always have two choices: I can choose either to live fully or to die slowly. It’s entirely my choice.

For me, every time I choose “S.I.P.”, I die a little bit…sometimes a lot. It is the death of my dreams, the death of my vision, and the death of my connection to me…to my feelings. Every time that I succumb to the seduction of immediate pleasure, I shut down my emotions…I turn off my wisdom…I lose me…and I lose some of the life in me.

For example, if I am tired and I need a nap, sugar, one of my “favorite” addictive substances, will give me a more immediate jolt of energy than just about anything else. Unfortunately, it will also give me just as rapid and predictable a crash. A nap, on the other hand, while not as immediate an energy producer, is a great deal more reliable, satisfying, and longlasting. It truly meets my need for rejuvenation.

A similar pattern could present itself when I am angry and tempted by the possibility of immediate relief. Without a plan in place, I could easily be seduced by my addictive habit of jumping into the car and taking off to the nearest shopping mall. There I might whip out my charge card in defiance looking for emotional release in the newest jacket or shoes. My anger might actually even seem to subside in inverse proportion to my rising bill.

However, when I start to feel calmer I am likely to begin to feel the remorse that so frequently accompanies any addictive habit. For a while the remorse may even have camouflaged the angry feelings that have been repressed by the shopping. Yet it is only a matter of time before my anger will begin to surface once again…sometimes at very inappropriate times. The seduction of immediate pleasure actually has prolonged and aggravated my original emotional state. It has not released any of my emotion at all.

So on top of having to pay extra on my credit card bill, I still must find a way to release those original feelings of anger in a healthy way. Otherwise, they will unfortunately continue to surface at unexpected moments. It would have been much more satisfying for me to sit down at the time I first perceived the upset and journal about my anger until I had expressed it all and discovered the gift within it. For example, if I had been angry about the way my neighbors treated their dogs, perhaps I could volunteer some of my time to fight animal abuse and truly make a difference with my fury.

“S.I.P.” is now my signal to get into action and instigate my non-negotiable plan of recovery rather than to close my eyes to the ultimate effects of the seduction of immediate pleasure. Instead of dying slowly, it is my opportunity to choose to be living fully. It is my chance to turn down the volume of the seduction of immediate pleasure so that I can be fully satisfied at last.

What are you going to choose today? What have you determined is the next step toward your personal vision? Are you willing to take that step, no matter what else might beckon? Have you chosen to be dying slowly or have you chosen to be fully alive? Are you falling prey to immediate, but short-lived, pleasure or choosing long-lasting and fulfilling satisfaction?

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